Wednesday, April 4, 2018

An Evans Weekend Recap in 8, 7, 6, 5...

This weekend the Evans house was hit with the triple whammy of Easter, a big church broadcast, and April Fool's Day. Although let's be honest, every day feels like April Fool's Day around here (Ha ha, you just mopped and now there's pee on the floor! Gotcha!) so I guess that part wasn't too different.

In any case, here's a by the numbers recap of the weekend, if you find yourself wondering what it would've been like to hang out with the Evanses.


...of us watching 8 hours of General Conference together. Phillip and I plus our 6 kids have been looking forward to it for the last 6 months, albeit for different reasons (see the next point, #7.)

General Conference is a twice-a-year broadcast where the leadership of my church give sermons on various spiritual topics. It takes up the whole weekend, stretching over four sessions of 2 hours each. But we Mormons are hearty stock. We have church for 3 hours every Sunday, so we're kind of used to it.

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Us watching Conference on the computer in the corner. The kids on the floor aren't dead from boredom; they're trying to get a marker that rolled under the stove.

I love Conference because I always come away with a clearer perspective on my life, more hope for the future, and a motivation to follow the Savior better. The kids, on the other hand, love the snacks.


...times per minute I was asked about snacks. We've tried various Conference traditions over the years, but my kids' favorite by far is Conference Snacks.

We tape pictures of our church leaders on different munchies, and when each one speaks we get to eat that snack. And it's funny, the regular readers of my blog, even the ones who aren't Mormon, also love this tradition and ask me every time if we're going to do it again.

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
There's some serious debate going on over whose picture goes on which snack. I usually try to keep my distance to avoid catching a stray punch.

I joke about the kids only being in it for the food, but in reality they're pretty good at paying attention. I encourage them to listen and take at least a one-sentence note on each sermon, and they all tried their best, even the 6-year-old:

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
The black writing is mine, obviously. Sometimes 6-year-olds get tired before a sentence is over.

Six... looking for Easter eggs in the snow. We also participated in an Easter egg hunt through our local playgroup.

The younger three hunted for eggs, the older three helped them, and I sat in a beach chair sipping a hot chocolate and planning my vacation to Tahiti because I'm obviously not even necessary around here anymore.

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Since two of the kids have food allergies, the egg hunt was immediately followed by The Great Candy Swap, where you take what I'm allergic to and I take what you're allergic to, and everyone is happy. Good thing we have so many kids.

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
I'll see your two peanut butters and raise you three glutens and an Almond Joy.


...Pysanky eggs created. Several years ago when we were learning about different countries over the summer, we learned about a Ukranian egg-dying technique called Pysanky. Somehow it became an Easter tradition for us, even though we have 0% Ukranian ancestry that I know of.

Making Pysanky eggs is a pretty complicated process involving drawing your designs with hot wax and then dying and re-dying the egg in different colors after each new layer of wax.

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
It takes a long time, but if we get through Easter without anyone lighting their hair on fire I consider it a success.

We each have our own styles that would probably make traditional Pysanky masters roll in their graves, but I'm really pleased at what we created this year!

These were two of my favorites:

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Via the 11-year-old.

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Via the 13-year-old.


...cups of dye NOT spilled. If you'll notice in the picture above, there are five mugs full of Pysanky dye, meaning that one of our dining room chairs is covered in bright blue splatters now.

Pysanky uses a special kind of extra-potent dye, and unlike the boxes of pastel powder I can buy at CVS for $1.49, this stuff is permanent forever and ever, amen. (If you eat an egg dyed with Pysanky dye, I think you grow a tail.)

So if you ever come over to our house for dinner, please don't be alarmed by the chair that looks like it was a witness to genocide on a blueberry farm: we're just making memories.


...General Conference talks answering my question. Mormons believe that if we prayerfully think about questions we have  a doctrinal subject we don't understand, a need for guidance in a certain area of our lives, or whatever  those questions will be answered during Conference. And as always, Conference did not disappoint.

Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed by life and all its assorted responsibilities, to the point where it's affecting my happiness. I keep thinking about the idea from this article that if you're feeling perpetually burnt-out you don't need more breaks from your life, you need to re-structure it so you don't feel the need to constantly escape. Okay, sounds super-good in theory, but how do I do that?!?

So that was my question, and there was not one, not two, but three Conference talks on Sunday morning telling me to seek answers from God. I can't explain how each one felt like an incredibly personal answer specifically directed at me, but they did.

If you have an extra 11 minutes in your day, this was my favorite. (It also has a story about Navy ships and a typhoon, which is exactly the kind of thing my boys are highly invested in emotionally.)

On one hand, it was a little frustrating to ask what I need to change about my life and instead of a bulleted list I was told 'Girl, you need to go ask God about this.' But on the other hand, at least I understand now I need to be specifically asking God how to rearrange my days instead of just begging Him to help me get through them.


...big pans of Easter rolls brought to a friend's. I ended up doubling the recipe and bringing a billion of these rolls to Sunday dinner. Being a family of 8, we don't get dinner party invitations much, but we went and had a good time and our oldest sat at the table discussing politics and current events with the adults which was equal parts neat and bizarre.

Also, my 4-year-old may not have gleaned much from General Conference since he was doing couch parkour throughout most of it, but making the rolls definitely left an impression on him.

He was telling Jesus' resurrection story to everyone who would listen whenever we had a roll for the next several days.


...huge mess made while everything else was going on. While we were otherwise occupied with General Conference, the 1-year-old seized the chance to make sure every other room of the house looked like this:

From Ukranian eggs to spiritual broadcasts and unholy messes, what a weekend it was.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
The work of a tiny opportunist.

Now that the weekend's over, we definitely have some cleaning up to do.

Click to Share:
Unremarkable Files


Anonymous said...

I LOVE General Conference week-end! I'm not Mormon and I don't watch it BUT I do enjoy your recaps. Also, just a quick shout-out for the casual use of the word "Parkour" in a sentence! If you ever wondered (of COURSE you wondered) I DO notice when you toss out those little gems. Your efforts are all worth it (I decided) as there is nothing I like more than being impressed... - Kathy Young

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

Love it! I especially appreciate when you get a specific answer you were looking for (even if it’s not the answe you wanted!). I told our Deacon that he wrote a homily on forgiveness just for me, and he said I was the seventh person to tell him that!

AnneMarie said...

This sounds like it was such an awesome weekend! I think it's cool that you have your kids write a one-sentence takeaway from each sermon, what a neat way to make them pay attention. Also, I have loads of respect for you guys making Pysanky eggs. They've always intrigued me and I think they look cool, but it's always seemed like such a daunting thing to do!

PurpleSlob said...

Those eggs are amazing!!
That happened to me a few Sundays ago. (The personal messages.) I told our Sunday school teacher, and the children's Pastor how I was feeling, using part of a Biblical quote. Lo and Behold, if the SS teacher, didn't already have that in his lesson!! AND the main Pastor had it in his sermon!! I was crying, because the Creator God of the whole universe knows me, and talks directly to me!!

katiefromtheblock said...

I made Pysanky eggs in third grade when we studied Russia and I definitely singed the front of my hair! Did you guys make two holes in the eggs and blow out the actual egg part first?

Jenny Evans said...

Glad it meets your approval. That's actually a very high compliment!

Jenny Evans said...

It's so crazy how the Lord can work like that not just for one person, but for all 7 billion of us on the earth.

Jenny Evans said...

They are! There's definitely a learning curve. We've been doing it for years and this is the first year we've created some eggs that make me think, "Wow, these are objectively pretty cool-looking!"

Jenny Evans said...

Isn't that wild? I know it intellectually, but those little reminders that it actually is true that God knows me personally and cares about my problems are so powerful.

Jenny Evans said...

That's the traditional way it's done so they don't smell and you can display them for a long time, but I cheat and just hard-boil them. We just do it for fun and don't mind tossing them in the trash after a week.

mom jeans said...

I love your photos and your post :)

The Lady Okie said...

So impressed by the eggs! I’m glad you had a few answers to your question about life, even if it is annoying sometimes to be like, just pray about it! OKAY. haha. But it is also a good reminder too that we need to take these things to God :)